Thursday, January 28, 2010

I packed up and moved!

After MONTHS of waiting, my chosen domain name finally became available! So now I've moved on over to Wordpress, come and visit me at!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tutorial: Foldover Elastic (FOE) bound Baby Crib Sheet

In case you can't tell, I've become quite the fan of FOE over the last little while. I've used it over the last 6 months or so for my cloth diaper covers, and over time have ventured out into other uses. Today I'm bringing you a tutorial for one of my favorite ways to use this versatile little notion. This is kind of picture heavy, as I'm a visual learner and I always like lots of pictures on tutorials, it's like someone is right there holding my hand as I go! The pictures aren't fantastic as it was late while I was doing this and my sewing room is rather dark, but hopefully they're good enough for you to see what I'm doing.

First, if you aren't familiar with FOE, it is a soft knit elastic with a slight depression down the center (you can see in the picture below) to enable it fold over cleanly while maintaining stretch. Think of it as the bias tape of the elastic world. It takes a little practice to get it to look really good (and I should mention now that the stitching in this tutorial is NOT an example of looking really good!), but it's worth it!

Now lets get started, gather your materials:

  • 68" of flannel cut the entire width of the fabric leaving selvedges intact (or really, you could use a knit or cotton woven as well, but it needs to be cut to an appx. 45" width NOT length)
  • 5-6 yards of FOE (this will vary a bit depending on the amount of stretch, I will list some sources at the end)
  • Your normal notions-rotary cutter or scissors, ruler, and a marking utensil, I use tailors chalk on these.
Step 1: On each corner of your fabric, measure a square 8" x 8" and mark with chalk.

Step 2: Using your rotary cutter or scissors, cut out the squares. It should then look like this:

Step 3: Take the first corner of your fabric and fold right sides together (as shown below) and serge or sew from the edge to the V of the fabric. If you don't have a serger, finish the edges with a zig zag stitch to help with fraying issues in the wash. I personally serge the seams and THEN sew for durability, but I might have a few perfectionist tendencies lol.

Step 4: Pick out your FOE-there are TONS of colors available, and more and more prints all the time. I went with plain white for purposes of this tutorial so I could use a contrasting thread to show you what I'm doing. You want to start your FOE on one of the straight edges-fold the FOE in half on the edge of the fabric, sandwiching the fabric in between and making sure it's all the way to the inside. Use a few tack down stitches to secure the end, stopping with your needle down.

Step 5: Now this is where it gets a bit hard to explain (and takes practice to get everything to go the way you want it to). Move your stitch to a wide zig zag or 3-step zig zag (I'm using a 3 step in the pictures). With your needle down, you want to put your finger about an inch or so back from your presser foot, grab the FOE (not the fabric, just the FOE) and stretch it as much as you can. I usually pull the fabric behind the presser foot as well, not yanking it through the machine, just holding it taut to ensure the stretch is maintained as I stitch. You have to reposition your hands frequently to keep the FOE stretched and the fabric situated correctly in between (which can result in some hand cramping-fair warning!), but after a few inches you'll see the gathers forming behind the presser foot as you let the FOE go on that side.

Step 6: When you get to the end, cut your FOE off so it overlaps the start a bit, finish stitching to the edge and remove from the machine. Turn so the cut edge is perpindicular under your presser foot, and put your machine on a thinner tight regular zig zag stitch. Stitch over the exposed edge (this is mostly cosmetic as FOE doesn't really fray much). As you can see, I got a little sloppy on this one, but I had a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old helping me at this point.

Step 7: Put your new crib sheet on your babies crib and enjoy the feeling of knowing they're sleeping on a sheet mama made with love (and MUCH cheaper than buying a single sheet at Toys R Us!). This is not the sheet I made during this tutorial obviously, but it IS one I made using this method!

I hope my instructions were clear, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away and I will answer them for you! I'd love to see pictures of your creations, please post them to the Froggy Girl Designs Tutorials flickr group. Enjoy!

Sources for FOE (if you know of another please let me know and I'll add it!):
  • FOE Your Diaper
  • This End Up Yahoogroup (this is where I personally get all of mine, it's a group buy, but worth the wait!)
  • Sewzanne's (it looks like she only carries 5/8", but that would work although it might be more difficult to wrangle)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reflections on the first year

Yesterday was my sweet baby girls first birthday. She's the only girl, coming after 4 brothers, and is the last baby in the family. I struggle with that for many reasons, but my body couldn't take anymore, so I feel so very blessed that God chose to give me this perfect girl as my final child. She is wonderful in so many ways, challenging in others, but oh how I love her.

She has 4 teeth now, can sit up on her own-but chooses to sit on her knees instead of her booty much of the time. She loves to play patty cake on daddy's belly, and still has to be swaddled to sleep (not that she does much sleeping!). She tells me she's hungry by crawling in the kitchen and laughing at her high chair. She loves her brothers as fiercely as they love her, lighting up when they enter the room. As soon as she hears daddy's voice when he comes home from work, she takes off to him as fast as she can crawl, fussing until he picks her up. Bedtime is still for mama though, no one else can get her to sleep (a blessing and a curse!), and I cherish those times we snuggle together watching her sweet face in sleep.

Her skin is slightly better, although she's figured out that by laying on the carpet and wiggling her booty back and forth quickly she manages to itch her back a bit. She's not walking yet, but has been pulling up for a few weeks, and has started to clear off surfaces she can reach in her efforts to help mama (HA!). She's so beautiful, and so happy despite the misery of the constant itching I know she goes through.

Happy birthday my sweet Gennah! I'm so glad God let me be your mama!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Catching up

That's exactly what I'm doing. I got hit with an icky sick late last week that is still hanging on, mostly just enough to be annoying at this point. We also tried to transition Ree over to regular milk which did not go well. Poor baby had some nasty stomach issues from it, so for now we've put her back onto formula. None of my other kids ever had a problem with milk, so I'm really at a loss where to go from here. Anyone have any suggestions?

The picture above is something I've been wanting to tell you about. My breakfast? Well, in a roundabout way yes! At a show I did this fall, there was another vendor selling all locally made fruit spreads, ketchup, etc. I was so excited, even more so once I actually tried the samples! The company is called Local Folks Foods, based in Columbus, IN. None of their items have any preservatives or high fructose corn syrup, and all are made using items that are either locally grown or sourced from small independent farmers. The blueberry spread you see above is called "Purple Haze" and is SO yummy. The ingredient label-4 items-cane sugar, blueberries, lemon juice, pectin. I love being able to pronounce everything in my food, and knowing the mission statement behind this small company makes it even better. Seriously, go check them out, they do ship items, you won't be sorry!

I've also been working on Ree's first birthday outfit. I can't believe my last baby is going to be a year old TOMORROW! As you can see above, the last couple of days have involved tracing, tracing, tracing and then sewing up this cute little number. Both patterns are from Fishsticks Designs-the top is the Emmy, the pants are from the Little Ones Layette pattern.

I love Bonnie's patterns, they're so quick to sew up and really easy even for beginners to do. I think once I actually got sewing, the entire outfit took less than an hour. The top is a favorite knit jersey, the pants are a super soft fuchsia cotton velour. Also, one note on these pants-not only are they made perfectly to accommodate diaper booties, but with no seams at the front or back, they are perfect for embellishing with embroidery or applique.

Now, it's time for me to go and try to conquer some more of these piles in the house. Things are VERY slowly coming together as I'm still on my mission to declutter. I'm hoping to get my sidebar fixed up today so ya'll can track with me my challenges for the year. How are you doing with your personal goals for the year? Are you making progress or have you tossed them to the side?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Japanese Hedgehog Fabric Grocery Bag Holder

Yup, I did it. I cut into my piece of my treasured hedgie fabric. It's been sitting in my stash for over a year, because I LOVE it, and because it's a cotton oxford (a little heavier than a twill, and a bit of a stiffer hand to it). I always go back and forth with what to do with oxfords, as I personally think they're a bit heavy for the childrens clothing I primarily make.

Our kitchen here is a closet, seriously, it's tiny. There's not much storage space at all, so I'm having to get creative with things. It's still not unpacked all the way simply because I hit a point where my brain doesn't compute anymore and I have to take a break to let things muddle around in my head, which is why you can see the boxes in the background. At our old house, we stuffed our plastic bags under the sink (ya I know, classy), but here cabinet space is at a premium. I want to get a bunch of reusable bags made for grocery shopping, but we'll still use plastic bags for trash can liners and the like. Enter the grocery bag holder!

I basically used this tute (this is one of my favorite blogs btw, ALWAYS awesome tutorials!), I just didn't do as much piecing. I used the hedgie fabric as the main body, then some Amy Butler Full Moon dots as the accent. The ribbon I used was sent to me by a friend, it was on one of the gifts she got when she had her son-who is 3 weeks older than Ree. So now, not only do I have a pretty, functional grocery bag holder, but I also think about my friend every time I look at it and smile!

So tell me, am I crazy for using a piece of my precious Japanese fabric this way? Or do you agree that it's better to have it out where I can admire it all the time instead of withering away in my stash?

Featured on Try Handmade today!

Today my interview is featured on Try Handmade. Go check it out and learn a little more about me! Then come back later today when I talk about my new grocery bag holder and some works in progress!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 Decluttering Challenge

In case you haven't noticed, I've decided this is my year to get my stuff together-mentally, physically, emotionally-everything. Over the past 5 years, we've moved 6 times each with it's share of drama. Whether it was losing the house we were buying on contract or our ceiling caving in, it's been a series of "You have GOT to be kidding me!" moves. That results in lots of just throwing things in boxes and going. I admit I'm no Martha Stewart, as much as I long to be, so boxes will sit untouched, or barely touched, because I simply don't know what to do with the contents or don't want to take the time to sort them.

When we moved this time, I vowed NO MORE! I have been going through piece by piece, item by item and either putting it in its place, or putting it in a box for a HUGE yard sale this spring. So far, we've put something like 50 boxes into storage until our yard sale. I also am making a huge leap for my packrat self-anything we don't sell is going to be donated to a charity here locally, not coming back in my house. I grew up quite poor, and through my adult life have faced more times of poverty than I care to think about, so its very hard for me to just let those things go that we spent good money on. BUT, I've been doing alot of soul searching the past few months, and came to realize that God provides no matter what, so I can let things go. I want to bless others with things we no longer need or can use, while making our home more comfortable.

All that rambling to say...I'm going to participate in Amy's Declutter Challenge The goal is to get rid of 730 items in 365 days. I'm a few days late joining the party, but I KNOW I've already decluttered at least 730 items, so I'm going for 730 more! I'll do a post at the end of the month rounding up what I've gone through to get rid of, and post pictures for proof so ya'll know I'm really doing it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

FOE (foldover elastic) Bound Ironing Board Cover

Here at the new house, my sewing room is...not big. I'm SO blessed to even have a room for all my stuff, that I dare not complain. There is no space to put up my full sized ironing board and leave it (and other areas of the house!) easily accessible, so I'm using the small table top board that I already had. The downfall of that is that the cover it came with was 1) UGLY and 2) WAY too big. I don't know why, but it was like 10" too long for the board and a good 4" too wide.

So, I got crafty! I LOVE foldover elastic for tons of applications. I originally started using it simply for diaper covers as intended, but quickly came to find so many other uses for it! Probably my favorite use for it other than diapers, is crib sheets. I've made tons of crib sheets for Wyatt and Ree out of super cute flannels with FOE around the bottom.
I was totally winging this, and as you can see it's not perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. The major problem area is the curve at the front, I need to work on that part so it looks nicer and fits a little better. Would anyone like to see a tutorial on this? I'd be happy to write one up if ya'll want!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The perils of too much fabric

You can't see me, there's too much fabric!

What! Too much fabric??? NOT POSSIBLE you say.

To which I say, yes, unfortunately it is. I am a confessed fabric addict-so many patterns, so many ideas, so many gorgeous prints! I want them ALL! And now it feels like over the last couple of years since I started sewing I've been on a mission to do just that-acquire a bit of everything! I would say I'm lucky in the sense that sewing is pretty much the only craft I do-no jewelry, no bows, no wool felting-just sewing.

But even with sewing there are always new awesome gadgets (like this bias tape maker machine-WANT!), and beautiful new fabric lines (like this one from Sandi Henderson-SWOON!) that I just have to have. Let alone all the things you need to actually sew-thread, bobbins, interfacings, etc. That equals alot of STUFF! All of which I love to be surrounded by. The joke around the house when I'm getting stressed is that I need to go to therapy, then I'm sent to my sewing room. It keeps me grounded, and helps me get more centered to spend at least a little time with my machines every day.

But now, the stash is overwhelming. I have so many options that I freeze. I can't decide what the best method to reducing my stash is (other than the obvious to SEW it!), I know I can't just get rid of it, I'm physically unable to throw any usable fabric away, and I want to use it all!
This? This isn't even 1/4 of my stash now-both of those shelves are STUFFED and then some.

So, here's my plan of attack for 2010. I'm going to sew more of course, but I'm on a mission to reduce! In order to buy 1 yard of fabric (unless it's a NEED to finish something), I have to sew through 10. That sounds like alot, until you think about the fact that between October and December of last year I sewed over 100 yards of fabric-and didn't make the slightest dent in my stash. I need to pare down the notions too-no new thread, interfacing, etc. again, unless it's needed to finish a project.

I'll also be doing a month of scrapbusting (because um, ya-2 bins full) and I'm also going to be concentrating on finishing all the UFO's (unfinished objects) I found when we moved. January will be spent getting more organized, there are still boxes and boxes of fabric and such that my new sewing room simply can't fit.

So tell me-do you think there's such a thing as too much fabric? Got a load of UFO's you need to work on?

Friday, January 1, 2010

My goals for 2010

Photo Credit to Rainbow Brite/Hasbro/etc.

It's been a wonderful start to 2010 so far! Last night we had a wonderful family night, one of those nights that you sit back and say "Wow, this is awesome!". We continued on with it today, but with a determination to get our living space more under control and unpacked. Do you ever feel like the boxes multiply while you sleep? I know I do!

I've been thinking about the goals I have for my life over the past few weeks as we come into a new year. I'm not one to set resolutions, per say, but its nice to feel that sense of renewal that a brand new calendar brings. I'm not trying to reach for the moon, but keeping my goals within reach.

  • Be more present as a wife and mother-I have pretty bad ADD tendencies, and I find myself all too often only listening with half an ear while I do 12 other things. I feel like I'm missing too many wonderful moments.
  • Make a better home for our family. We've never been homeowners, and when renting I think it's really hard to not only take pride in something that doesn't belong to you, but also to make it your own within the limits placed upon you by your landlord. The house we're in now is wonderful, and my goal is to bloom where I'm planted-keep up the cleaning better (sigh..its neverending isn't it?), decorate at least a little bit, that type of thing.
  • Continue on our journey towards better eating. Our goal as a family is to have one "eat out" night a week, and we fail on that VERY often. I love to cook, and try new recipes but when I have a long night with the baby and then a long day with the rest of the kiddos, I give up. So this year, I'm going to try to do more freezer cooking and utilize the tools I have available to me to make more homecooked meals.
  • Well, resurrecting the blog was #1. I'm forever coming up with post ideas while I'm going about my day, I just need to get lots better about actually writing them!
  • Pretty things up around here! I'm a self proclaimed "techtard" so I've got a friend working on a new template and everything for me.
  • Post the tutorials I have in my head. I have some goodies hanging out up there!
  • Go outside of my comfort zone. I've been doing this for a year and a half now (give or take) and I still am simply astounded that people like my stuff enough to buy it. It's time to step it up-find boutiques to take my things to, approach blogs for reviews, etc. If I ever want to have any modicum of success, I have to bite the bullet and just do it!
  • Practice my ad/marketing writing. My skills are not very good, and I really need to brush them up!
  • Keep my Etsy shop stocked-I tend to let it fall by the wayside which is counterproductive.
See, nothing really earth shattering, but easily attainable which I think is the key for anyone to have success with goals. Keep them manageable and eventually you can reach for the stars!

(The photo up top has nothing to do with this post except for the fact when I was browsing Flickr for 2010 images and ran across a bunch of Rainbow Brite images-apparently the dolls are being re-released this spring. I was a HUGE Rainbow Brite fan when I was little, so I'll definitely be scooping some up for Ree!

Your turn-what are your goals for 2010? Are you shooting for the moon this year?